What a California Winter Taught Me

(2021-02-10 07:21:15) 下一個

        I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only
        the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to
        teach, ...
-- Walden, Henry David Thoreau

My reasons for living alone in the old house were mundane. I loved its bright
serene space and its quiet neighborhood close to the trails. My kid grew up here
and I knew my close neighbors. In the past 13 years, the worst crime befell us
was when a pair of shoes vanished from the front yard and resurfaced one day
later in the nearby park.

I moved back in May and soon it was summer. Into Aug, record wild fires darkened
the sky and dusted the air with ashes. I was very happy to leave the gloomy warm
days behind when fall finally came. Around Thanksgiving, I had a new idea: to
get through the winter without heat. It appealed more to my curiosity than ego.
Armed with a zero-degree sleeping bag, I marched into the unknown.

I found that I loved it. Getting out of my cozy cocoon in the morning took some
grit (6-8am was usually the coolest time of the day). But not having to sweat
like crazy was a big help for lifting weight. An hour of running prepared me
well for a cold shower which always heightened the spirit. I was cryophilic.

The real challenge, however, came after exercising as I sat still at the desk to
work. A heavy jacket kept the core warm but the feet and hands felt frozen in no
time. At below 50 degrees fahrenheit, the body seemed to switch to a
conservation mode and blood flowed only to the head and vital organs.

I cupped my face and glasses of hot drink to warm the hands. I re-discovered the
half-lotus sitting where part of each foot touched and drew heat from a thigh.
Sometimes, I would do a dozen reps of Surya Namaskar in the middle of the day.
At noon, I would have a shot of hard liquor and a walk and the afternoon and
evening were generally much more pleasant.

Jan 4 to 5, I fasted for 40 hours and endured a harrowing night. With an empty
stomach, I couldn't fall asleep until 4:00am as the feet remained icy even in
the snug sleeping bag. It made sense: the body generated little heat without food.
It was programmed to survive and not to play my stupid games.

After fasting, things felt easier and Feb soon arrived. The west wind blew, the rain
fell, the grass greened, the dandelions, the dogwoods and the magnolias
blossomed, and winter was over.

I bought a dozen parsley from a neighborhood nursery, transfered them into
bigger pots, and started harvesting in two weeks. I sowed two dozens of heirloom
tomato seeds saved from last fall and hundreds of coriander seeds purchased from
the nearby Shalimar(an Indian grocery store). Let spring come!

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閱讀 ()評論 (6)
7grizzly 回複 悄悄話 回複 'stillthere' 的評論 :

I really appreciate your input, my friend. It is rare to meet on the Internet
people interested in discussions. Your generous encouragement made me think I
should shoot for something big ;-) I'm happy enough, however, to have a few
friends to chat with about writing and life. Thank you again and take care.
stillthere 回複 悄悄話 回複 '7grizzly' 的評論 :

thank you for the discussion! yes, shorter is better.

trust someday, somehow, somewhere you will be a published author of best sellers. you have the talent; you should do. i am looking forward to reading them...

take care; stay safe!
7grizzly 回複 悄悄話 回複 'stillthere' 的評論 : Thank you, stillhere, for reading and your kind comments. I looked them up and
found that transfer and transplant can be synonyms. I think 'transplant' is more
literal and specific, if we want to emphasize re-planting. It's one syllable
longer, however, than 'transfer.' I think even 'move' should do here. Thanks for your thoughts.
stillthere 回複 悄悄話 admire your active life style, and enjoyed the reporting.

by the way, perhaps

"transfered them into
bigger pots, and started harvesting in two weeks. "

should be

transplanted them into
bigger pots, and started harvesting in two weeks.
7grizzly 回複 悄悄話 回複 '暖冬cool夏' 的評論 : Happy 牛 Year! Thank you, 暖冬, for reading and the rave review. I'm so glad
you liked the post. All the time poured over it felt worthwhile.

Fremont can drop to as low as the mid 30s in Jan, which is not bad. Also, it's
dry, which makes the weather much more tolerable. Even the recent extreme cold
spared California. We are so lucky.

Pingpong twice a day sounds great! It's wonderful you guys can keep it up.

Thanks for the good suggestions on staying warm and healthy.
Sometimes it is hard for me to tell the difference between when it's time to
take it easy and when I'm simply lazy. I'm still experimenting.
暖冬cool夏 回複 悄悄話 Love this post! wonderful writing! Almost every paragraph is my favorite:))
Apparently Northern CA is much colder than that in the south here. Our lowest room temperature during the day time was around 58 F. I rarely have heater on, as the morning sun soon warms the room, plus our morning and afternoon 20 minutes pingpong play helps blood circulation:)
Maybe you don't have to stick to your plan so rigidly, but instead be adaptable to the changes. Say, if you were hungry or cold, then just break the fast (or have breakfast earlier than scheduled:)). You can always start anew when good time comes. A good sound sleep is just as important.
Stay healthy and safe, my friend. Happy Ox Year!